Comedones are wild. Seriously—think about it. All this gunk (read: dead skin cells, oil, leftover makeup) just gathers together, decides to clog up your pores, and eventually turns black—or, if pus and inflammation also decide to join the party, turns white. The best blackhead removers and acne spot products can certainly help create a clearer complexion over time, but the best pore vacuums may come in handy if you’re looking for a quick-fix-meets-deep-clean. “Pore vacuums use a gentle suction force to pull out debris, oil, and dead skin cells clogged in pores,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brendan Camp. “They can help improve the appearance of skin and minimize the appearance of pore size.”
In short: Pore vacuums work—and are oddly satisfying (don’t judge, please and thanks). That said, they need to be used with an ~extreme~ abundance of caution. Technique is key, patience is going to be a virtue, and sensitive skin is unwelcome. Most importantly, using a well-vetted pore vacuum tool is key. Otherwise, you can be left with broken blood vessels, irritation, and a heck of a lot of redness. To make sure your purchase is up to par, we’re sharing our tried-and-tested recommendations and all the info you need to know about using the tool.
- The Best Pore Vacuum Overall: Dermaflash Dermapore Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser
- The Best Luxury Pore Vacuum: Rodan + Fields Pore Cleansing MD System
- The Gentlest Pore Vacuum: Vanity Planet Exfora Microdermabrasion Wand
- The Best Multi-Purpose Pore Vacuum: Michael Todd Beauty Sonic Refresher Wet/Dry Sonic Microdermabrasion & Pore Extraction System with MicroMist Technology
- The Best Pore Vacuum With a Camera: Prabensei Blackhead Remover Pore Vacuum
What to Look For
Multiple Levels of Suction
Let me say this loud and clear: Customizability is key. Different areas of the skin can handle different levels of suction—it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. As such, you'll likely want to select a pore vacuum that has a variety of settings. "The greater the level of suction, the more likely you are to damage blood vessels leading to bruising," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. "Areas of thin skin, like the neck and skin around the eyes are especially susceptible to trauma. Areas of thicker skin, like the nose, can tolerate higher suction levels."
Variety of Tips
You're going to notice that a decent chunk of options on the market come complete with a singular base and a multitude of tip attachments. There's a good reason for all the add-ons. "Different shape tips allow you to use the device in different parts of the face," says Dr. Zeichner. A more narrow tip would be ideal for the sides of the nostrils, while a larger tip could be used along the forehead. Some pore vacuums will also come with microdermabrasion tips, which "offer gentle exfoliation along with suction benefits."
While most pore vacuums are going to operate with suction, it's worth calling out spatula devices, which sit just adjacent to pore vacuums, are probably preferable for sensitive skin types. According to Dr. Zeichner, they "offer gentle vibrations and can help remove blockages within the pores with gentle pressure that you control."
Which Skin Types Should Use Pore Vacuums
Pore vacuums are not for everyone, nor are they for every type of pimple. “Patients with sensitive skin may want to use a pore vacuum with caution,” warns Dr. Camp. Use can lead to irritation, inflammation, or broken blood vessels, especially in people who have rosacea. "You also have to be careful if you have any sort of bleeding disorder or bruise easily," says Dr. Zeichner. "Do not use the devices if you have any open or raw skin or active skin issues like eczema."
Pore vacuums are ideal for people who have oily or acne-prone skin, specifically those with blackheads or whiteheads that are already at a head. “These devices are best used on comedones once they have developed,” Dr. Camp adds. “Those with more inflammatory acne, such as pustules and cystic lesions, will need a different form of treatment.”
What Are the Risks of Using a Pore Vacuum?
The most common issue when using a pore vacuum: Skin irritation and redness, which is why sensitive skin types should steer clear. “Pore vacuums can exacerbate existing skin conditions like acne or rosacea,” explains Dr. Camp. “It can also cause discoloration in the form of hyperpigmentation, which can take a long time to resolve.” Pore vacuums can even lead to superficially dilated blood vessels, or telangiectasias. That’s why it’s important to start out slow and consult with your dermatologist if you have concerns.
The Best Pore Vacuums
Every pore vacuum on this list has been vetted by Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, Samantha Holender (hi, yes, me) and Marie Claire's Beauty Director, Deena Campbell; hand-selected by a board-certified dermatologist; or recommended by an industry professional. Each device is highly rated by reviewers, has a customizable design that allows you to tailor it to your skin type and concerns, and lives up to its claims. While pore vacuums certainly aren’t for everyone (lookin’ at you, sensitive skin) and the best option is largely dependent on your skin type and concerns, we feel confident that every tool on this list delivers results. For further guidance or if you have any concerns, check with your board-certified dermatologist.
Best Microdermabrasion Pore Vacuum
This is as close to an in-office microdermabrasion treatment as you’re going to get. “This product uses spinning disc technology and vacuum suction to both gently exfoliate skin and clean pores,” explains Dr. Camp. In the end, your skin is going to be exfoliated, brighter, and prepped for product absorption. You can choose from three caps, which have varying levels of intensity, to customize how intense your blackhead-sucking treatment will be. That said, there’s only one speed. If you’re looking for a wider variety of options, check out the Elite version.
Pros: Derm-recommended; Customizable tips
Cons: One speed
Customer Review: "This device is amazing! It makes my skin brighter and my skin feels so smooth. I originally bought this device to help with pigment issues and after using it consistently every week I've noticed significant improvement. It takes a few minutes a week to get great results and is easy to incorporate into beauty routine." — Sephora
Best Travel-Size Pore Vacuum
This device is actually the miniature version of the beloved Microderm GLO—an entry-level version without some of its add-ons (and its hefty price tag). With hundreds of five-star reviews, fans gush that this tool can replace costly in-office treatments. It comes with a blackhead suction tip, which can be set to three different speeds. That said, if you want more of a variety of tips, you'll have to purchase them separately.
Pros: Affordable; Easy to store; Gets rid of blackheads
Cons: Only one tip
Customer Review: "Love this product. I use it twice a month and it takes all the gunk out of my face and leaves it feeling soft. It also gives me that 'cupping' massage, that I feel like helps my skin, while giving it a soft glow. Seriously, highly recommended!" — Amazon
Best Multi-Purpose Pore Vacuum
“It took me a while to get into pore vacuums because I was terrified of leaving bruises on my face. But, adding this pore extraction system has been an awesome upgrade to my beauty routine. My blackheads are reduced (yes, even the stubborn ones around my nose and chin!) and my skin feels baby soft. I don't use it regularly, but it's perfect when I need a deep clean.” — Deena Campbell, Beauty Director
Pros: Multi-benefit; Customizable
Customer Review: "You wouldn't think that any machine bought from a store is strong enough to suck the stuff out from your pores but this tool does it! And the mist feels great after doing the treatments. My pores have literally shrunk and my makeup application looks so much smoother. I will definitely always have this included into my regimen." — Ulta
Best Hydrating Pore Vacuum
“Our hydration facial pore cleansing tool is much more than the average pore vacuum. With most pore vacuums, you are only getting extractions. With a GLOfacial treatment, your skin is also simultaneously infused with the GLOfacial concentrate, which is packed with clarifying salicylic and plumping hyaluronic acid for a satisfying cleanse and pro-level results with every use,” says BeautyBio founder and CEO Jamie O’Banion. “The treatment tips are designed to provide gentle extractions and exfoliation, so it’s perfect for all skin types...I recommend adding this game-changing tool to your skincare routine one to two times a week to maintain a healthy, hydrated glow.”
Pros: Gentle; Infuses skin with hydrating and acne-fighting ingredients, contains LED light
Cons: Complicated instructions
Customer Review: "I'm obsessed with this thing. It has pulled gunk out of my face that I swear has been there for years. You *can* do it too much but just use it a few times a week and enjoy the benefits of regular hydration facials with the best zit gunk vacuum on the market." — Sephora
Best Ultrasonic Pore Vacuum
You've heard the praise and read the rave reviews, but does this pore-busting product live up to the hype? The answer is yes, according to Dr. Camp. “This product does not use vacuum suction to clean pores. It uses ultrasonic vibrational technology to gently tease and push debris and oil out of clogged pores,” he says. The swiveled spatula works in two modes: Extract and infuse. The extract mode pushes out gunk from your pores, like excess oil and blackheads, while the infuse mode penetrates products deeper into the skin, like your go-to serum or moisturizer, past the skin's barrier. The result is nearly invisible pores.
Pros: Derm-recommended; Multi-purpose; Easy to use and clean
Cons: Can be too intense if you press too hard
Customer Review: "It's lightweight and easy to use. I use it after washing but not drying my face or after misting my face with water. I don't experience any discomfort while using it. I stick to slowing going over my T-zone twice a week and it's so satisfying to see the gunk collect on the end. If you aren't wowed by the results after the first use, don't be disappointed. I found that my congested pores cleared out after using the Extractor several times." — Dermstore
Best Pore Vacuum With a Camera
If you're all about pimple popping videos, this one is for you. It comes with a camera (you just sync it up to your phone), so you can see the pore vacuum sucking out your blackheads and whiteheads *really* closely. Seriously, you can enlarge the surface of your skin by up to 20 times. There are three suction heads to choose from and a range of intensities, so you can customize your treatment. That said, this baby is pretty powerful, so it's probably not best for super sensitive skin types.
Pros: Comes with a camera; Customizable
Cons: Can bruise sensitive skin
Customer Review: "As someone who finds pimple popping satisfying, this is super fun. The app connection is a breeze—the only thing that's weird to me is you have to connect to a different wifi that comes with it in order to use it. I don't use it for more than five to 10 minutes, so it's not the end of the world. Don't use this on an area that you've recent tried popping pimples on or leave it on your skin to suction I'm one spot too long, I did get a bruise doing the first one." — Amazon
Best Facial Spatula
This guy is one of Dr. Zeichner's personal favorites. In fact, he prefers it to the more traditional pore vacuum. It offers gentle vibration and only requires gentle pressure to be effective, which makes it ideal for those with more sensitive skin types. It's approach it two-prong: First, it's going to exfoliate the skin. Second, it's going to infuse skincare products.
Pros: Derm-approved; Two modes; Good for sensitive skin
Cons: Better suited for oil than clogged debris
Customer Review: "I was pleasantly surprised at how my skin felt after using this. I always notice how much softer and even my skin is the next day. I have tight pores, but they do get clogged around my nose and chin area. Honestly, I didn't expect much from this product but it really is able to get out some gunk. I've used it about a month now, once to twice a week. Each week seems easier to get stuff out, perhaps it is a bit of a learning curve to use something like this. So far I've only needed to charge once, hopefully the battery will hold up over time." — Target
Best Budget Pore Vacuum
Don't let the affordable price tag fool you: This pore vacuum has a heck of a lot of fancy features. First and foremost, it has a microdermasion tip to slough away dead skin cells, get rid of dry patches, and reveal fresher, glowier, and dewier skin. But that's just the start. There's also three speeds to choose from, as well as an alternate tip that really sucks out the gunk. Plus, it has an innovative wet feature that allows for a more refreshing and significantly less intense treatment.
Pros: Affordable, Safe for sensitive skin
Cons: Others are more powerful
Customer Review: "Prior to using Bella, I was struggling with blackheads and whiteheads in my T-zone area. Using Bella helped me so much to remove them without scarring my sensitive skin, and reduced my pore size. I am also obsessed with the nano-mist technology. It’s so refreshing on the skin and it reminds me so much of being at a spa. I definitely recommend Bella for radiant, glowing skin!!!!" — Target
Best Sleek Pore Vacuum
This sleek white tool from Nurse Jamie is designed to clean your skin while it unclogs your pores. It comes with three extremely easy to use features: Cleanse, enhance, and extract. The first is pretty self explanatory—just pair the setting with your favorite cleanser. The second setting should be used in tandem with your favorite skincare products; it'll help push the actives deeper into the skin. The third, while optional, is really where you'll get to work on your blackheads. And because there's no suction, you're less likely to irritate the skin—just start off with soft pressure.
Pros: User friendly; Multi-purpose
Customer Review: "I have very oily skin and enlarged pores that make me a big target for persistent blackheads. This really helps bring the blackheads on my nose to the surface. You can see the yucky stuff on the device when you’re done. I would recommend giving this a try." — Nordstrom